13 Quick Copywriting Tips

13 Copywriting Tips

From this week’s newsletter:

1. Talk about one thing. The tighter the focus, the better. –> Read More
2. Speak to just one person. Copy should be a one-on-one conversation. –> Read More
3. Force your reader to “pick a side.” Don’t allow him to sit comfortably on the fence. –> Read More
4. Whenever possible, write to people who are already at least half-convinced. –> Read More
5. In most cases, you can get away with infuriating 95% of your list/audience in an effort to win over the 5% who are your best buyers and referrers. Court the kingmakers in your list. –> Read More
6. Trust is EVERYTHING. –> Read More
7. Clarity is everything, too. The clarity of your message and offer. And the clarity you create for your readers by explaining the reality of their problem and the available solution. –> Read More
8. Sequences beat single-shots. –> Read More
9. Better products make for better copy. –> Read More
10. Make your copy empowering, not condemning or depressing. If the reader can get some benefit just from reading the marketing message, you’ve made “the sale before the sale.” –> Read More
11. That being said, psychologically, the fear of loss is twice as strong as the desire for gain.
12. Curiosity is the strongest human incentive, says Claude Hopkins. Leverage it.
13. If you use curiosity to grab attention and get clicks, do yourself a favor: pay off that curiosity. “Bait & Switch,” clickbait copywriting tends to burn out their audiences quicker than straight-shooters.

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Is a Recession a Bad Thing? That Depends on You

You don’t need me to tell you that times are hard. The words of Charles Dickens ring true today: “It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.” How you position yourself and your business will determine whether you experience the best or the worst.

I recently spoke to a well-known certified resume writer/business owner. He described this paradox to me very clearly. “Job seekers need my services more than ever,” he noted. “But this is also the toughest time to spend the extra money to put together a really strong resume.

The distinction needs to be made between an expense and an investment. Hiring a resume writer who can help your job hunt end satisfactorily is an investment, not an expense. It pays off.

The same is true for marketing, training and business development.

Many people and businesses are scaling back, pinching their pennies and cutting “non-essentials.” The problem is, they need to be good at attracting customers and clients more than ever before. Employees need to be equipped to deliver better service than their competitors, who are too busy saving money to properly train their people.

During “good times,” when money comes easily, the budget has plenty of room for these initiatives. But when revenue starts drying up, most people react in fear. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, “What begins in fear usually ends in folly.” You can’t grow a business that way.

When the going gets tough, people and businesses need more information, better direction, more counsel, more inspiration. They need more help. Those who provide the help people need so badly are in position to make these “the best of times” for their businesses.

That is why it is absolutely critical that you:

1.) provide real, tangible value,

2.) present yourself as a trusted advisor, not another money-drain. An investment that will yield a profitable return.

Fear is natural. Implementing defensive strategies is instinctive. But both are counterproductive. You can’t advance and retreat simultaneously.

Retreating is what your competitors are doing.

Statistics show that businesses that maintain or increase aggressiveness in their investments such as marketing and coaching during recessionary phases grow more than 200% more than those that pull back. (See “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Don’t Skimp on Their Ad Budgets.” )

The challenges are daunting; the opportunities are awesome.

How are you responding to the economic climate we’re facing now? How does this affect your interactions with clients and prospects?

Counteract This Trend

You’ll do well to consider different strategies to make your services accessible to your target audience. Low-cost entry items, pared-down basic coaching, and group sessions are possible choices.

Whatever you do, do not devalue yourself or your services. The attitude that says “I know it’s hard out there, so I’ll discount my prices,” is a position of weakness. You are not a commodity. You are not less valuable just because the economy is in bad shape currently (If anything, you could charge more because of inflation!)

A better move would be to present alternative options, multiple ways you can help different people in different financial situations.

The quality of what you deliver is of paramount importance here. If you sell a book that makes marked improvements for the reader, not only will he be more likely to purchase your higher-level offers, but he’ll be more able to do so because of those improvements.

Business is not a zero-sum proposition. Your clients are not $2,000/month poorer because they retain your services. They pay you (you win), you help them achieve their goals (they win), and everyone is richer and happier.

Companies who approach their practice from the perspective that someone wins and someone loses are forfeiting some of the benefits they should be getting. They may be doing more harm than good.

You’ve probably heard it said that more millionaires were created in the Great Depression than any other time in American history.  It seems that “bad times” aren’t bad for everyone. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to use this downturn as an excuse for mediocrity and failure, or if you’ll look for the opportunities to gain the ground everyone else is forfeiting.

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Set Your Sails

It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”  – Jim Rohn

The economy is front, middle and back page news these days. Debt ceilings, the declining dollar and defaults are all we keep hearing about.

And lets face it;  the economy is in shambles. Experts across the country and around the globe are saying that a crisis is unavoidable at this stage.

Now I’m no economics expert, but I’m forced to concur.

The truth is, you and I can’t do much about America’s economy as a whole. The problem is just too big.

I’m not saying that to convince you to throw up you hands and take a fatalistic mentality. Quite the contrary.  Any good coach will tell you not to get caught up in things you have no control over, but to focus on what you can control.

So here’s the question that really matters: how’s YOUR economy?

You can get bogged down about the macroeconomic situation, but you should be more worried about protecting your personal microeconomy.

2011 has been my most profitable year yet as a copywriter. While so many of my colleagues are complaining about taking a hit, having difficulty finding gigs. On the other hand, right now, I have a waiting list for clients who want to work with me.

I’m not saying that to brag, believe me. I bring it up because if I can do it, so can you.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you a few insights into why my economy is not currently reflecting what we’re seeing in the economy at large.

1.) I’m continuing to give. So many businesses are clenching their fists, holding back what they could be sharing, for fear of being ripped off. Or, instead of taking the time to nurture leads and develop relationships, they are rushing the selling process.

Give as much value as you can. Giving information (in a strategic fashion) will firmly establish you as an expert, as an individual or business that cares about it’s customers and communities.

2.) Positioning. Don’t get caught in the death spiral of commoditization. You absolutely must be unique, especially during a downturn like we’re facing now. If your competitors can honestly make the same claims that you make about your business, you can only compete with them on price. You don’t really want to do that, do you?

Find your own unique selling proposition/competitive advantage and make sure your target audience knows why you’re a smarter choice than the other guy.

3.) Don’t react in fear. Define a plan of attack and be proactive. What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to work with? What  account are you aiming for? What do you have to do to get it?

Fear is killing your competitors.

Remember: “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” (George Bernard Shaw)

4.) Find out what your audience wants and help them get it.

5.) Don’t be afraid to negotiate confidently.

By all means, seek to understand the big picture. But also understand that no matter what the economy at large is like, there are always some people who are winning. Put yourself in a place to be one of the victors.

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